Thin Within

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By Ken Begley

Sometimes I love to sit down and write silly little stories and hope that I make someone, somewhere, forget their troubles for a while and laugh.  Today is not one of those days. 

I have a serious topic to write on with the permission of my wife, Cindy.  The reason I asked her is because it’s related to her life and common throughout the U.S.  The story is about Cindy’s overeating problem.
Cindy has suffered from this problem since she was a little girl.  She says she remembered being in the sixth grade and everyone was weighed at school.  She topped the scale at 125 pounds, and all the kids were stunned by how big she was.  When she graduated from high school, she weighed over 200 pounds.
Cindy has told me that she has always been an emotional eater.  If she was stressed, she ate.  If she was sad, she ate.  If she was happy, she ate.  Food was her companion.  It was something that gave her comfort more than anything or anybody else.  If there was food on her plate,  she would eat it all up and never leave a scrap, no matter how full she might be.  If there was food in the refrigerator she liked, then it wouldn’t be there long.  
The lowest weight that she got to was 145 pounds when we got married.  Her weight continued to fluctuate up and down as she had our five kids.  But you know what?  Life in a large family during these times doesn’t help.
We are constantly on the go with five kids and the volunteer activities parents are expected to participate in for clubs and organizations.  Then, you have to add in Cindy’s full time and one part-time job with my own full time and two part-time jobs in order to support our family.  Cindy previously had to commute out of town for one of her jobs, while I  continue to commute to another county for two of my jobs.  All the other economic and social stresses normal to these turbulent times were always heaped on the pile of worries.
It is rare for one or both of us to not make at least three to five trips in different directions once we do get home from work at night.  We’re also fielding calls and questions from the kids and matters related to the kids during the day, everyday.
Stress over the years came close to breaking our marriage.  It’s what probably causes most marriages to fail these days, and we are certainly no different than anyone else.
So, Cindy turned more and more to food for comfort.  Her weight kept ballooning up until it hit close to 290 pounds this past year.  The weight gain resulted in her needing medication to deal with its effects.  She found it difficult to exercise or to walk long distances without her knees giving out or rubbing huge blisters on her feet.
Cindy seemed to drift more from God as she got more despondent.  I really didn’t know what to do.  She kept trying different programs like Weight Watchers, Overeaters Anonymous, and a whole host of diet books.  There are great ways to lose weight, but they just didn’t work for her.  Nothing would inspire her to say,  “This is the answer.”  She did continue to pray to God for help each night and read her Bible.
Let me be totally honest here.  I had long since lost my faith that God was listening.  I quit praying for a solution years ago.   I thought Cindy was wasting her time.  So my drift from God was greater than what Cindy had experienced. It’s easy to write pretty words about faith in God, but living it has always been a struggle for me.
Then one day in a consignment store she picked up a book by author Gwen Shamblin called “The Weigh Down Diet.” It was a strange book that said, “God can set you free from your weight problems forever.”  It was a religiousbased solution that called on you to rise above the worship of food to worshiping God only.
Let me be clear. This isn’t a diet. This solution calls for permanent change of life when it comes to food and it started with God.
This book was the beginning of what she was looking for.
Cindy started looking for other books with a God based solution to her overeating problem which led her to “Thin Within” by Dr. Arthur Halliday and his wife, Judy Halliday, R.N.  Arthur and Judy push a “grace-oriented approach to lasting weight loss.”
This isn’t about making meetings.  It isn’t about counting calories.  It isn’t about risky surgeries. It isn’t about writing down everything you eat.  
Cindy is the expert on this plan, and I’m sure she would be glad to explain it to anyone that asked her.  Basically, it leads you through readings of the Bible.  It has you keep a journal to record your feelings, and what you’re thinking about that day.  It asks you to eat until you feel full and then stop.
Finally, it has one key part that you must do if you want success.  You must thank God before each meal and ask Him to help you to know when your physical hunger is satisfied and you stop eating at that point, even if there is food left on your plate.
I didn’t think it would work.
I was wrong.
Cindy has now lost 41 pounds in five months as of the writing of this column.  She has been able to throw away her medications.  She goes walking up to three miles every day.  Her outlook on life has brightened and it’s a pleasure for me to go home at night now.  Cindy’s goal is to lose 100 pounds in all.  
Do you know what the greatest benefit of all this has been?  She has come closer to God, and as we experience all the trials, tribulations, and stress of this world, she is staying the course while slowly pulling my soul back from the brink with her. Our lives are now closer and more loving than it has ever been in 22 years of marriage.
So, I end by saying, “I’m sorry God for losing faith in you, and I thank you for giving me back my wife.”
Take care my friends.